Can you believe Christmas and New Years are creeping up on us again?
As such, I thought it was an ideal time to explore “Reflective Journaling”, winding down and gearing up for 2022 provides the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on the year that was and form new positive habits.
Reflective Journals are wonderful. I’ve journaled ongoing now for over ten years as I find the process itself both therapeutic and inspirational. As my journals have become my testimony and in a way my legacy of personal growth throughout the years across my relationships, career and on a personal level.
I often look back on my journal entries when I am having a down day or am doubting myself, it allows me to shift my focus to view my problems, issues, or stressors through a more positive lens.
I find this grounding and encouraging as am reminded of challenges I’ve overcome which gets my internal cheer squad revved up which urges me to keep moving forward!
Honestly, the benefits of Reflective Journaling are endless but overall, this process undoubtedly assists your personal growth in turn boosting your resilience, awareness, problem solving ability and self-confidence.
I fluctuate between using a set formula such as the prompters below to free styling and just blurting out what is on my mind whereby I then review, highlight what niggles at me and then work through what “I did well, what I need to do better and how I am going to achieve this?”
Prompters, below may assist you in starting this process, but you will find that as you get into a rhythm a writing style will naturally develop that works for you:
- What did I achieve today, that I was convinced I couldn’t undertake this time last year?
- Another set of questions to promote reflection “what did I learn, how did that make me feel and why”
- What am I most grateful for today? I usually break this down into naming x3 events, people or experiences I’ve had and put at the end of my journal entry as a reflection
An article written on Holstee Website entitled 5 Science – Based Benefits of Journaling references scientific explores research highlighting the pros of journaling which “has been shown to have significant mental and physical health benefits to improve a person’s overall quality of life”.
It’s a great read and it details the benefits journaling has across the below listed domains:
- Reduce Depression and Anxiety
- Help Boost Immune System
- Helps Cultivate Gratitude
- Recovery from Trauma
- Improve Memory Function
So, where to from here?
Well, you may want to consider whether you create a written journal, online journal or phone journal, what is most important is that you find the best fit for you!
I utilise a combination of phone and written which works for me as phone journaling allows me to deal with any concerns on the go and helps to circuit break my overthinking at that time.
Remember your journal is your own personal chronicle which is a safe space free of judgement, so be authentic and honest in your transcriptions, as it will provide a reference point you can revisit to observe your growth which is truly inspirational.
To conclude I’d like to leave you with a Natalie Goldberg quote which I feel encapsulates the essence of reflective journals: “Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.”
If this article brought up anything for you or someone you love, please reach out to, call or visit the online resources listed below for support.
- Lifeline – 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636, beyondblue.org.au/forums
- MensLine – 1300 789 978
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet – healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au
By Kym Marsden
Kym Marsden is a Kamilaroi woman and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with over 19 years’ experience in Mental Health and Community Services. Her qualifications include BA Health Ageing and Community Services, Masters Social Work, Dip Counselling, Dip Community Services (AOD and Mental Health), and Cert IV Training and Assessment.